Handling Conferences When You Are Divorced

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Dear “And You Will Have Kids”:

My ex wife is making a HUGE drama out of our daughter’s upcoming conference at the school.  She says she does not want me there and that she won’t give me the information on the conference.  I learned about the event from my daughter by the way.

Until I get into court to get the judge to order her to give me the information, the event will have passed.  I have no clue what to do.

Angry Dad


Dear Angry Dad,

Sadly, many parents use the children as pawns after a divorce.  I am sorry that you are going through this, but there are some things that you can do to empower yourself and play a more active role in your daughter’s education. It sounds as if your ex would like to believe(and would like for you to believe) that she is calling the educational shots so to speak.  She’s not.

Firstly, I’d call the school and talk with the teacher.  Explain that you are interested in playing an active role in your daughter’s education.  Ask that the teacher send copies of report cards, conference schedules etc to your address.  Put it in writing.  If you get nowhere with your request, follow up with the principal. 

Many schools have a system where grades are posted electronically.  Ask to sign up with the system.  Also see if your child’s teacher has a newsletter, web page, or class e-mail that she sends out. Sign up for these things too. 

If your child lives far away from you, it may not be possible to attend school functions.  In some cases, distance doesn’t have to be a factor though.  For example, ask if you can attend your daughter’s conference by phone.  Even if you live close enough to attend in person, but your ex is extremely hostile, this may be a good option.  I know, in a perfect world, all divorced parents would be able to put aside their differences for the sake of their children.  The reality is that this doesn’t work sometimes. 

You mention the possibility of going back to court to clarify some issues. I’m not a big fan of family court, especially after many years of court hearings and drama.  I found that very little was accomplished really during those years, but a whole LOT of money was spent.  As you say, by the time you can get into court, this situation will be over.  Also consider that perhaps family court won’t have the answers you want.  For example, you have a right to your child’s educational information.  If your ex doesn’t want to give it to you, I’d go to the school directly.  No need to waste money on court expenses and lawyer’s fees for that one. 

Again, I’m so sorry to hear of your situation and I hope that the advice I’ve given is of some help to you.  I wish you the very best!


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